Date: 15th February 2007 at 10:38pm
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The shrieking headlines from ‘Street of Shame’ hacks outing Joey Barton as an evil villain intent on crippling a fellow professional have quietened. Repeated calls from the south coast for some sort of justice or inquiry that could lend weight to football one day becoming a non contact sport seem to have subsided…for now.

Manchester City supporters have seen our own players seriously injured in the past. Colin Bell and Paul Lake come to mind. I do not recall Royston Vasey Keane coming in for the same press demonisation Barton has warranted when he scythed down Alf Inge-Haaland and openly admitted it. Same goes for City favourite Potato Head Rooney treading on Portuguese knackers. Was that an intended stamp or just the cut and thrust of top flight football? Only the players concerned can honestly answer that.

Were Stuart Pearce to have backed the reaction from Pompey, then a dangerous precedent would have been set which could only lead to an even more sanitised game than we watch now. Does the Sky era’s seated and repressed modern English football fan want to see an end to the role in the game of players such as Norman Hunter, Gerry Gow, Dave Mackay, Vinnie Jones, Chopper Harris, Nobby Stiles, Tommy Smith, Peter Reid, Graeme Souness and many others? Can anyone say that those players could never have made similar contact with an opposing player?

I have always had time for Pompey fans. I suggest it was coincidence that Mendes was the player injured for a second time against City following that disgraceful assault by Ben Thatcher.

I am guessing, but maybe they were still angry from what had happened last year and reacted the way they have done because one of their players was stretchered off again against City. Had the Thatcher incident never happened and Joey Barton not earned himself a reputation in his younger years I do not believe the reaction would have been anywhere near what we have witnessed this past week.

That said, the crowd abuse directed at Joey Barton regarding his jailed half brother was appalling and hardly reported. Neither was Andy ‘Andrew’ Cole’s V sign gesture to the travelling City supporters. Cheers, er, ‘Andrew.’ You benefitted greatly from MCFC’S support and medical assistance and did one.

There goes the football neighbourhood?

 

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